Do Students Feel Safe with 50% Capacity?

Change in plans creates uneasiness for some.


Photo Courtesy of Chung Sung-Jun on Getty Images

Desks are reorganized to fit more people into a single classroom as MHS turns to a 50% hybrid model.

Tess Lepelstat, Editorial Director

Just a few weeks ago, Mamaroneck High School switched its 33% capacity policy to a 50% capacity policy. While many students at Mamaroneck see 50% as a step in the right direction, Globe staff members worry that it is too soon to open up. With students at Hommocks Middle School,  Chatsworth Elementary School, and a student and several employees at the high school recently testing positive for COVID-19, many think that the high school should have waited longer to see how well our safety policies are working. Two main things dominated the debate: education and safety. 

With the 50% schedule, students attend school every day, for half a day. Not only does this mean that they get to spend more time with their teachers, but it also means that classes are larger, encouraging more engagement within the classroom. This “closer to normal” schedule gives students a clear routine. Almost every Globe member agreed that this way of learning was better than 33%. They were able to hand in their assignments, take tests over two day periods, and have a somewhat social class experience. While this is good for students’ education, does it outweigh the negatives of reopening too early?

Some fear that reopening too soon will cause Mamaroneck to go back to being fully remote. Because more people are exposed now, if someone catches the virus, it will be much harder to trace. For the example at Hommocks, one sophomore Globe member said, “It’s not about the first kid, but the amount of kids that they spread it to.” Mamaroneck has only been in session since September. Many are afraid that the safety policies were not checked enough before the school opened up to 50%. Others brought up the fact that students off of school property have been taking their masks off with friends and have been ignoring other recommendations by the CDC. Since the school can’t monitor this, there is no way to ensure that students are behaving correctly and considering the safety of other Mamaroneck students. 

In the end, the Globe decided that the negatives outweigh the positives. If 50% jeopardizes the health of Mamaroneck students, sacrificing this more hands-on education would maintain the safety of our community. A junior Globe member said, “The closer we get to normal, the more dangerous our school becomes.” This Catch 22 scenario that boggled the minds of the Globe staff bubbled down to one phrase: “Better safe than sorry.”